Twitter keeps pro-Trump extremist’s false ‘stolen election’ claim up

A week after false claims of a stolen U.S. presidential election drove a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Twitter is allowing a far-right supporter of President Donald Trump to claim the election was stolen.

Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, in a tweet Monday about banks freezing political donations after a pro-Trump mob stormed the seat of the U.S. government, said the banks’ decision was, “Further proof the election was stolen.”

Geller, who has claimed that former President Barack Obama is a jihadist Muslim, was banned from entering the United Kingdom in 2013 to attend a far-right rally, with the British government saying it would not stand for “extremism in any form.” In 2015, she organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, which was attacked by two gunmen, one with a declared allegiance to the Islamic State, who were killed by security. A Boston man was later sentenced to decades in prison for plotting to behead Geller.

A Geller tweet on Sunday to her 189,000 followers linked to a blog post in which she called the events in Washington, D.C., where five people including a police officer died, “a couple of crackpots who pranked at the Capitol.”

Twitter, asked by this news organization Monday about Geller’s tweet claiming the election was stolen, said it would look into the matter. Twitter’s “civic integrity policy” says it will remove or label and restrict “unverified information about election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or certification of election results.” Twitter said in a blog post Tuesday that it had imposed the policy because “misleading and false information surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential election has been the basis for incitement to violence around the country.”

Although Geller’s tweet appears to violate that policy, it was still up Tuesday afternoon. Shortly after this article was published, Twitter added a note it had applied to Trump’s election-fraud tweets before it kicked him off its platform: “This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can’t be replied to, Retweeted, or liked due to a risk of violence.”

After adding the note, Twitter responded to this news organization’s initial inquiry, saying, “Protecting the integrity of the election conversation happening on Twitter is important to us, and our teams remain engaged in this work.”

Twitter’s civic integrity policy suggests content that “may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process” is banned, while the company “may label and reduce the visibility of tweets containing false or misleading information about civic processes.”

In the wake of the Capitol insurrection, which followed months of claims by Trump and his supporters that the election of Joe Biden was rigged, Twitter permanently banned Trump. The San Francisco micro-blogging company said Tuesday that it’s permanently suspended more than 70,000 accounts linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory holding that Trump is waging war against Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

Menlo Park social media giant Facebook has suspended Trump until at least after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, and said Monday it’s removing “stop the steal” messaging falsely claiming the election was rigged. Geller, on her pro-Trump website, referred to the company’s actions as “the great purge,” adding, “and the Democrat communists haven’t even take (sic) hold of the levels (sic) of power.”

This post was originally published on Silicon Valley

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